Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Soil Blocks for Seed Starting!

Do It Yourself Soil Blocks!

Today is Robbie Burns Day and  and I am getting ready to start my early seeds for the Garden this year.  Recently I had heard about something called "Soil Blocks"  These are little compressed blocks of specialised potting mix that need no mesh or order for you to start your seeds!! Getting excited at the idea..I did a little research...these tools are NOT cheap!! ONE ..that is to make ONE 4 inch block maker..was on SALE for $26.95..ON SALE!!
So you know me folks...I made my OWN! It cost me under $8 and I will be able to use it over and over for folks..if you run a commercial green MAY want to invest in the proper tools to do this on a multiple level..but for me..this will do PERFECTLY!
What this is, is a 2 inch long piece of 2 inch PVC pipe..
A 4 inch long, 1/2 inch blot bolt with a ring end.
Two corresponding nuts and washers and a larger washer for stability..
and a 1&1/2 inch pipe cap!!
On the pipe cap ( orange thing) there is a tiny pip the machine left when it cut off the cap..this is where I poked the hole for the bolt ( judging it to be centre)
I then slipped  on a washer..then slipped on the larger washer...spun on a nut to about an inch up the bolt...pushed the bolt in through the hole in the centre of the inside of the cap.
When the bolt was pushed out of the other side of the orange cap about 3/4 of an inch..I slip on the other washer..spun on the other bolt and tightened it all down.  The bolt and nut sticking out the end allows for a dent in the soil block where you can drop a seed.
As you can see..the "plunger" fits easily and snugly inside the 
the 2" PVC pipe.  You can also see the larger washer flush against the cap to give the more flimsy plastic stability.
For soil mix..I did some research. Not all potting soils are equal..having said that I made up a mixture of..

6 cups premium organic potting soil=
( compost,  peat-moss, vermiculite) 
Potting soil can be replaced by or combined with well rotted compost.
6 cups peat moss
6 cups vermiculite
Mix together and make sure there are no sticks or chunks..if you have a soil screen..go ahead and use that.
1 cup ground eggshell 
( these eggs shells were rinsed and toasted on a cookie sheet in a 200 DF oven for 15 minutes)
3/4 Cup Blood& Bone meal
6 Cups Water into which I mixed
one teaspoon generic plant food. 
Mix all together into a large container.

The mix should be moist and spongy when you take a handful and squeeze..but not wet enough to drip.
Have you tray ready that you are going to start your seeds in. 
Then..Tightly fill your piece of PVC pipe with potting mix..

Set on a flat surface and push "plunger" firmly down into the pipe.
Don't be afraid to lean into it!
Then gently invert your block maker.
Gently twist your bolt back and forth while pushing out your block.
Gently set your seed Block into the is now ready for dropping a seed in the hole and covering with a sprinkle of potting soil or vermiculite!
Once you seeds are planted and covered with soil mix..cover the entire tray with a lid, plastic bag of even several thickness's of new paper until seeds sprout. until NOT let soil block dry out! Once sprouted..water GENTLY when needed.
This is bloody butcher heirloom corn I used to test the blocks..this is the growth rate after only 5 days since planting!!
As you can see the sprouts are toothpick sized!
Soil Blocks! VERY COOL!



Renee said...

That's great! I have been interested in the soil block makers but ruled it out because it was too expensive. If I hadn't already made 100 little newspaper pots with my PotMaker I would try this. Maybe next year...

Renee said...

By the way, I added a link to your blog on my blog. I hope you don't mind.

Anonymous said...

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The Estrogen Files said...

NICE! I will have to "steal" that idea for my own. I found your site via YouTube and the goat banding video. Love what I'm seeing and the video sure did help!

Anonymous said...

I paid 32 bucks for th 2 inch soil block maker. Makes for neat square blocks at a time quick, neat and fast. I made a 4 inch one from a plastic conduit box. picture of 4inch blocker


thanks for your idea

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